Three youths pen public letters of apology after damaging bridge at Hubbard’s Hills in Louth

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Three youths have penned public letters of apology after damaging a wooden footbridge at Hubbard’s Hills in Louth in May.

‘Restorative justice’ has been used to resolve the incident of May 21, when officers from the town’s Neighbourhood Policing Team attended the beauty spot after reports were received of the vandalism taking place, and swiftly identified a number of individuals suspected of being responsible for the damage.

The three were issued with Unacceptable Behaviour Warning letters, the first stage of a warning process that can ultimately lead to an ASBO, and a Restorative Resolution arranged.

All three have written public letters of apology, expressing regret for their actions, and they will be completing unpaid work during the summer holidays to make amends.

Additionally, each family will be financially compensating with a donation towards the costs of the repair of the bridge.

Louth Town Community Beat Manager, PC Rachel Dobson, said: “This was an incident of mindless damage which caused a great deal of upset in the community.

“Whilst carrying out the unpaid work this summer, the youths involved will gain a clearer insight into the impact their actions had on those who enjoy the area and develop a better understanding of good citizenship”.

Restorative Resolutions are an opportunity to give victims the power to influence what happens to those responsible for crimes against them.

Police officers will discuss proposed Restorative Resolutions with victims and although they are usually only considered for less serious offences, with the victim’s approval, every crime is judged on its own merits.

Offenders are able to better understand the real impact of their crime on the victim.

Victims often receive apologies and/or compensation from the offender but this is a pretty much open-ended scheme which allows for any resolution as long as it is sensible and proportionate to what has happened.

Police cautions and other out of court disposals still have their place but a caution or a fixed penalty notice offer little reparation to the victim.

A Restorative Resolution allows for a bespoke course of action fitting to the crime and gives something back to the victim.

Restorative Resolution is in no way meant to replace prosecutions and court appearances but does divert less serious, often first time offenders away from the Criminal Justice System.

It is shown that the use of such Restorative Justice reduces reoffending.

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